“Those two personalities (narcissistic and sociopathic) are the most seductive personalities on the planet,” he said. “Narcissists attract people because they are very grandiose. 'I'm going to do this wonderful thing for you, and I'm this wonderful person.' But they lack empathy. People kind of forget about that part."
Eddy describes sociopaths more as con artists who are known to exaggerate and will do "whatever it takes to seduce someone into following them.” People with HCP don’t have one or both of these disorders exclusively. Instead, they have a consistent pattern of personality traits that allow them to manipulate emotion and rise to power.
“Basically a high conflict personality has four key aspects to it,” said Eddy, who first learned of HCP while practicing family law. “First is a preoccupation with blaming other people; it's kind of the focus of their life. They're always talking about other people and how they've done them wrong.”
"The second is all-or-nothing thinking. 'My solution is what everybody has to do or I quit.' The third aspect is unmanaged emotions. Sometimes this means yelling, crying, being very dramatic in ways that not only don't help but often make things worse. And the fourth characteristic is extreme behaviors; they'll do things that 90 percent of people would never do.”
In his book, Eddy looked at people like Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump, and former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner as examples of people with the traits of an HCP.
"The ones that go into politics have fantasies of unlimited power,” Eddy said. "They really want to be superior to other people and they will say or do almost anything to get their way.”
Eddy will be presenting and signing copies of his book at 7 p.m., June 4 at the La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. For more information, visit lajollalibrary.org. Eddy’s book, "Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths―and How We Can Stop,” will be available on Amazon.